Christ Church Cathedral Newcastle Foundation Ltd

Christ Church Cathedral Newcastle Foundation Ltd

The Christ Church Cathedral Newcastle Foundation Ltd (“Newcastle Foundation”) was formed to generate and administer funds contributed by the public towards the promotion of cultural activities in and around the Christ Church Cathedral for the benefit of the community of Newcastle.

The principal purpose of the Newcastle Foundation is to support and encourage musicians and music groups, especially choral and organ music by constructing a concert hall and performing arts venue for cultural, music, artistic and dramatic events for the enrichment of the broader community of Newcastle.

The Newcastle Foundation aims to support other artists and dramatic groups by providing rehearsal and performance space and conducting education programmes and information sessions. The Newcastle Foundation aims to maintain, conserve and interpret objects within the Cathedral and surrounds in relation to its significant cultural heritage and provide exhibition space for its movable cultural heritage collection.

Christ Church Cathedral Cultural Program

For its entire history the Christ Church Cathedral has proudly supported, and been enriched by, a fine tradition of music, involving organ, choirs and orchestras.

Music Program

Christ Church Cathedral is renowned locally, nationally and internationally for its music program.

The Newcastle Foundation seeks to build on this reputation by growing the current program to ensure future generations are able to share in this musical excellence by providing enhanced access to choral training and musical training especially in the playing of the organ.

The Music Program is limited by lack of rehearsal and tuition space, the provision of which is a priority for the Newcastle Foundation.

Programs funded by the Newcastle Foundation include:

  • Cathedral Choir
  • St Nicholas Choir
  • Christ Church Camerata
  • Organ


  • Cathedral Choir

The Cathedral Choir forms the basis of the choral programme. The choir presents a biennial performance of Handel’s Messiah. The choir provides performance opportunities for members at feast days, regular liturgies and other special services. In recent years the choir has toured to Canberra, Melbourne and England. The choir has released a CD of choral anthems and plans to record anthems and carols for Advent and Christmas

  • St Nicholas Choir

The St Nicholas Choir is a training choir for children aged 8 and up. Choristers receive training on vocal technique, basic musicianship and aural skills. The choir regularly performs at the Cathedral and have proven to be a popular choice for weddings. Choristers receive tuition on vocal technique, musicianship and aural skills.

  • Christ Church Camerata

The Christ Church Camerata is the Hunter’s most exciting chamber ensemble. The ensemble is performs an annual subscription series in the Christ Church Cathedral and a chamber music series at the Newcastle Art Gallery.

  • Cathedral Organ

The Christ Church Cathedral houses a magnificent and historic pipe organ. The organ is revered as one of the finest cathedral organs in Australia.

In addition to its liturgical use the cathedral organ draws local, national and international performers to present recital programs each year.

The Cathedral Organ program promotes, supports and encourages organ musicianship. The organ is used as a teaching instrument and its beauty is used to encourage new students of the organ, and to expose the instrument to a wider audience. The music program holds master class sessions with young people from local schools and students from the Hunter District Music Society.

  • Music Scholarships

The Choral and Organ Scholarships are the heart of the Newcastle Foundation music training program. Scholarship applications are encouraged from members of the public. The scholarship program and audition dates are advertised on the Christ Church Cathedral web site.

Scholarships are provided for one academic year and provide funds to assist in the scholars’ development as well as opportunities to gain skills working as a member of a highly trained musical ensemble, performance opportunities and to develop leadership skills.

There are currently six choral scholars and two organ scholars. Scholarships are awarded based on merit. Auditions are open to members of the public as well as members of the church and music community.

Previous scholarship holders have gone on to hold important positions in music performance, education and training both in Australia and overseas. Expansion of the scholarship program is a major goal of the Newcastle Foundation.

Planned future cultural activities

The Newcastle Foundation plans to develop a visitor’s and performing arts space, in order to contribute to honour the Newcastle and ANZAC heritage collection and contribute to civic life, music and the arts in a way that suits the contemporary needs of Newcastle.

  • Performance and rehearsal space

The Newcastle Foundation is raising funds for the construction and operation of a purpose built music and performing arts facility in the grounds of the Cathedral to promote, support and encourage musicians and music groups.

The current music program is limited by lack of rehearsal and tuition space, storage, archival and administration space.

  • Movable Cultural Heritage Exhibition

A key objective of the Newcastle Foundation is to maintain, conserve and interpret objects within the Cathedral and surrounds relating to significant cultural heritage.

The WW1 Memorial collection of movable cultural heritage is comprised of fifty identified items of military and religious memorabilia and including two heritage flags, the Gallipoli flag and the Birdwood flag. The memorial collection has been the subject of a significance assessment and a conservation report has been prepared for the Birdwood flag.

The memorial collection was listed on the State Heritage Register in 2011. The memorial collection is a collection of significance to the State of New South Wales and the protection of all items on the list is mandatory.

To facilitate the protection the Newcastle Foundation has commissioned a conservation management plan and has prioritised the raising of funds for conservation activities and the development of a visitors space to encourage public access to the collection.